Fyre Festival Founder Billy McFarland Is a Free Man—And Planning a Comeback

Infamous Fyre Festival founder and convicted felon Billy McFarland is out of prison after serving less than four years.

McFarland was released early on March 30th and then transferred to community confinement until August 2022, Deadline reports. And now that the disgraced festival organizer is free, he's planning a comeback and may even start a new company.

"I’d like to do something tech-based," McFarland told the New York Times. "The good thing with tech is that people are so forward-thinking, and they’re more apt at taking risk. If I worked in finance, I think it would be harder to get back. Tech is more open. And the way I failed is totally wrong, but in a certain sense, failure is OK in entrepreneurship."

"At the end of the day, I think I could probably create the most value by building some sort of tech product," he continued. "Whether that’s within a company or by starting my own company, I’m open to both. I’ll probably decide in the next couple of weeks which path to go do."

During his time in prison, McFarland said, he met "some really amazing people." He goes on to add that he's sorry for the decisions he made, which had an acute impact on so many lives. 

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"I deserved my sentence," McFarland said. "I let a lot of people down."

McFarland has a small amount of money in the bank and owes around $26 million in debts as part of his plea deal. He's also barred for life from serving as a director of a public company, per the Times.

McFarland entered a guilty plea for fraud back in 2018 for his role in the catastrophe that was Fyre Festival. The event promised a Coachella-like experience on the idyllic Great Exuma island in the Bahamas. McFarland and his ilk marketed performances from Disclosure, Kaytranada, Blink-182 and Tyga, among others, as well as appearances by A-list celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski.

Some of the tickets cost upwards of $12,000. But when guests arrived on the island, they were greeted with "luxury villas" that were merely repurposed FEMA tents on a faux campground. In hindsight, the disaster relief tents were ironically fitting.

After McFarland was arrested and detained in Brooklyn back in 2018, he was hit with a number of class-action lawsuits from ticket-holders. Their payout was ultimately slashed to roughly $281.